As the official supporters’ club which represents all Millwall fans, our statement may to some have been delayed, but we have been determined to listen to as many different views as possible before commenting.
Yesterday’s game against Derby County was a testing day for Millwall FC and those associated with it.
We fervently believe that the motives of those behind the booing were not racist. However, at a time of heightened awareness and with the country watching, the choice of those individuals was always going to damage their club and be perceived by the media as racist.
The greatest thing it highlighted is the need for clarity and understanding on both sides of this divide.
Anyone who believes it was a racist act, should read the views of those who booed and see they were doing it in reaction to the war memorials and statues of Churchill defaced by the BLM organisation and the extreme political views they hold, and for which ‘taking the knee’ is associated with. These same fans have never booed the Kick it Out campaigns on our pitch or the huge work of the Millwall Community Trust and its many anti-racism campaigns.
Equally, anyone who booed in the ground yesterday should read the views of Mahlon Romeo and those of the Millwall players released on Friday. They chose to ‘take the knee’ to highlight the need for more anti-discrimination work and action, something Millwall has always been at the forefront of through our community work. They explicitly did not use it to support any political viewpoint or organisation and therefore the booing shows disagreement with anti-discrimination.
There is an argument that the gesture itself has run its course, none more eloquently put than our next opponents’ Director of Football, Les Ferdinand:
“The taking of the knee has reached a point of ‘good PR’ but little more than that. The message has been lost. It is now not dissimilar to a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge.”
“What are our plans with this? Will people be happy for players to take the knee for the next ten years but see no actual progress made?”
“Taking the knee will not bring about change in the game - actions will.”
That action called for is desperately needed and the action needed was not to boo the gesture.
It is within our Millwall DNA to make The Den a hostile environment for the opposition players, not our own. We never want that to be sanitised or taken away as it is what makes us unique. But…if you are unable to create a hostile atmosphere at The Den without resorting to racist, homophobic or other discriminatory language or actions then you should make the decision not to attend.
Whilst working with Millwall Football Club over the past year in light of the incident at the Everton FA Cup game, we have jointly written and asked to be introduced as part of conditions of buying a ticket, a Fans’ Charter.
Today, we are publishing this charter and we call on the club to make this a condition of entry to the stadium and buying a ticket or membership.
We will now enter into detailed discussions with the club, staff, players and other stakeholders on how we move forward together as a club to continue the excellent work it does to tackle discrimination and use the incident yesterday to act as a catalyst for change.
Fans’ Behaviour Charter/Code of Conduct Football is a passionate game and supporters will have their own ways of expressing their support and reactions. This is acceptable and encouraged as it often adds positively to the match experience and atmosphere, especially at The Den. However, behaviour which jeopardises the safety and enjoyment of others or is likely to bring disrepute to the Club is not acceptable.
At Millwall Football Club we will not tolerate any racial, homophobic or any other kind of discriminatory language or action used as discrimination.
Discriminatory behaviour is anything that singles out a person or group from a particular audience, whether that’s on the grounds of disability, gender, age, sexuality, race or religious beliefs. This may be in the form of chanting, comments or shouting on the way to, or inside the football ground or by making comments on social media channels.
Supporters will not use racist, sexist, homophobic or other discriminatory language or actions.
Ways to report abuse or discriminatory behaviour in the following ways:
Stewards You can speak to any steward in or around the ground
Text: You can text 66777 on a matchday Phone: [insert agreed number here] Email: [insert agreed email address here] Letter: [insert agreed address here] Kick It Out using their reporting App or Textline 07956 535057 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I, the undersigned, hereby agree with the charter above and understand that if my behaviour or actions fall into the category of anti-discrimination as set out above, then there will be consequences as detailed in club’s banning orders: